What services does UVA School of Medicine Academic Achievement provide to faculty?
Robert Nakamoto, MD, Coordinator of Academic Achievement, answers that question and more.
This post is part of a series of interviews with faculty and staff who offer resources to SOM faculty. Stay tuned for more interviews with your colleagues!
Q: Can you tell us about the services that Academic Achievement offers to faculty?
We focus on the promotions and tenure process. We provide faculty information that they need to have in order to proceed through the promotions and tenure applications and reviews.
If you’re tenure track, you have to do this on time, because you’re on a clock. If you’re not tenure track, then there are a lot of questions about “When is the appropriate time to do this? What do I need to prepare? What should I be working towards, as I proceed along in my career?”
We have a website (https://faculty.med.virginia.edu/facultyaffairs/advancement/) that answers these questions and provides the policies for promotion and tenure and descriptions of how the process works.
We also have Continuing Medical Education P&T workshops, to provide faculty with information, such as putting together their portfolios and their CVs. I strongly recommend that faculty attend one of the workshops for new faculty, because the process really starts from day one, when you arrive and start your position.
Additionally, I meet individually with candidates, their chairs, division chiefs. Faculty also have department colleagues with whom they can talk about the P&T process. In a sense, those are better people to talk with, because they know exactly what their area of expertise is, and how to best present it in a portfolio for promotions and tenure. But I’m also happy to meet with people.
The other reason people might contact us is because they may have some unusual feature to the way their careers have developed. That’s one of the amazing things about this – we all do different things. It’s stunning, the variety of interests and expertise, what people have developed, the work that people have done! It doesn’t always fit into the nice categories of what they perceive the promotions and tenure process to be.
The promotions and tenure criteria are set up to be very flexible, and it’s because we know people are doing such a broad range of things. Of course, when you’re flexible, you’re also a little vague, and I think that’s where a lot of people’s questions might arise.
We are always working to improve the process, to try to, in a sense, make it more accommodating. Expectations have had to shift over time because the environment in which we work has shifted. We have to make accommodations for that.
We always tell our colleagues, the most important thing you have to do is just tell us your story. We know it’s good. That is the one onus that is upon the faculty member – figuring out how to tell their story about what they’re doing.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A few pieces of advice. One, be aware of the processes as early as you can, so you can prepare over time. A lot of it is just accumulating information about what you do, and it’s much easier to do it over time than to scramble around at the last minute to try to put it altogether. And we give advice about that in the new faculty workshops.
Second, be proactive about the process. It behooves one to be aware of what is going on and what it is you need to prepare.
Third, frankly, the success rate is very high. People do enjoy doing their jobs – that’s why we’re here. We’ve been working our whole lives to get to these positions. People have a fairly clear idea of what it is they feel they need to accomplish in order to be successful. Again, it turns into a matter of them just telling their stories.
Q: How long have you been at UVA?
I’m in my 25th year.
Q: When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I actually don’t know! I’m a first-generation college graduate. I grew up on a farm. I had inklings of several things, but I didn’t really have a firm grasp on what I wanted to do until I went to college, and that’s when I latched onto research.
Q: Do you have any children or fur babies at home that you’d like to tell us about?
I have two grown children. One just got married this year. Both of my children have finished college. They both are working, one is an engineer, and one is a school counselor.
Q: Do you have a favorite local restaurant or hangout spot here in Charlottesville?
I like Mas. We also like Public.